The city of San Jose is looking to have at least 1,000 new housing units for the homeless before the end of the year.

On Thursday, the city announced a major milestone in its efforts to meet that goal with the addition of 204 apartment-style units.

The new units will be built primarily with a $52 million grant from a state program called Project Homekey, which aims to build homes for homeless people across the state.

The new homes will be built at Branham Lane and Monterey Road, right next to the train tracks. Currently, there are a few homeless residents living on the vacant lot, but they have heard that they may have to leave here soon.

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Housing assistance is always welcome without a doubt,” said Jasson Rocha, a homeless resident who has lived in a tent at the site for two years.

The city and a nonprofit, LifeMoves, based in Menlo Park, plan to build a 204-unit complex on the site.

Rocha said that entering such accommodation would be life-changing and would be gladly accepted.

“I think that would help a lot because being able to go to work and you know you can live here in San Jose. As you know, the rent is very high here in San Jose,” Rocha said.

During a virtual press conference Thursday, San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo said state funding is a game-changer.

“Using our rapid-build apartment model that has been so successful in moving hundreds of residents off the streets already through this pandemic,” Mayor Liccardo said.

This will be the fourth such prefab construction project for LifeMoves, which also operates in Palo Alto and Redwood City and opened a site in Mountain View last year.

Although the design of the San Jose project is different from that of the recently opened Mountain View site, the concept is the same.

“This Homekey site takes a very different approach to conventional group shelters. It has been designed for dignity, practicality and self-sufficiency. The site offers individual units rather than group sleeping. So everyone will have their own door,” said LifeMoves board member Joe Stockwell.

Projects like this often come with a “not in my backyard” controversy.

San Jose City Council member Sergio Jimenez said the city has worked carefully with nearby residents.

“This will be our area’s third housing project in a few years and while residents have expressed some concern, I believe the majority of them understand, support and are proud of the efforts we have made so far.” , Jimenez said. said.

The exact timeline for this project is still being worked out, but the state’s Homekey project funds are generally expected to be used within a year.

The San Jose project also received a $5 million gift from philanthropists John and Sue Sobrato.